Undermining the status and power of Wyoming’s sole representative in Washington, D.C., is bad for business. Which is why, for the good of our state’s economy, we need to leave Liz alone and let her do her job.
By now, there’s probably not a person in Wyoming who isn’t aware that Rep. Cheney was one of only 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump. Considering that Trump won 70% of the vote in Wyoming, her decision was certain to upset many of her constituents. But that was Jan. 13, and now the process is before the Senate. There is no further role for the House of Representatives, nor for Cheney.
Which is why we need to stop shooting ourselves in the collective foot. Censuring our own representative might feel good for the GOP power elites in Carbon, Lincoln and Johnson Counties, but it diminishes our Congress woman’s ability to do her job.
Welcoming Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) to Wyoming to grandstand on our Capitol Building steps and ask for Cheney’s resignation might be good for Gaetz’s personal political ambitions, but doesn’t do Wyomingites a bit of good.
Remember, we have a mess on our hands. Our state budget is in shambles and we currently have no viable plan to address this situation. If there is a solution to be found, much if it will involve Washington D.C. Half of our land is controlled by the federal government, and we survive off an energy-based economy quite dependent on national policy.
For example, the Biden administration is placing a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal land. A whopping 92% of the drilling for gas in Wyoming is on public lands — this shift in policy is a big deal for us. While it’s unlikely that Cheney can reverse this policy altogether, she can work to obtain some concessions or economic offsets that could be beneficial to our state.
We also just learned that the Trump Administration failed to file an opinion on our state’s lawsuit with Montana that seeks to open exports of our low-sulfur coal to Asia. If we succeeded in shipping Powder River Basin coal to countries like Japan, we could displace Chinese and Indonesian coal, which is more toxic to the environment.
During my 2018 U.S. Senate race, I commissioned a study demonstrating that exporting Wyoming coal would reduce, not increase, greenhouse gas emissions. President Joe Biden is committed to meeting the targets in the Paris Accords, and here in Wyoming we have a way to help achieve that. But without a powerful advocate in Washington, our coal will never have a chance of reaching the Pacific coast.
During his inauguration address, President Biden said that uniting the country was what he cares about most, going so far as saying his “whole soul is in this.” Since his environmental policies are intended to benefit the whole country, we need advocates who can carry our message to the Biden administration and remind them that uniting the country must include consideration of how policies can disproportionately burden some communities.
For voters who want to see Cheney replaced in two years, you’ll have your chance in 18 months when the primaries are held. But meanwhile, we need to do everything we can to give Cheney the standing and support and power to fight for our state.
It’s just plain good for business to have someone who is the third-ranked member of the Republican leadership representing this state. And it’s equally bad for business to cripple her when we desperately need help navigating a Democratically controlled Washington.
Continuing a kamikaze mission to destroy Cheney’s authority within the GOP may offer some hardline Republicans short-term solace, but it comes at the terrible price of our own wellbeing.